Blue Jackets president calls Ryan Johansen negotiations 'extortion'
Columbus Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson called the team's summer-long contract negotiations with center Ryan Johansen "absurd" and "embarrassing," according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Davidson also referred to tactics used by Johansen's agent, Kurt Overhardt, as "extortion."
“It makes no sense,” Davidson said. “When you see the numbers that are thrown at us, we shouldn’t even respond. That’s how bad it is. It’s embarrassing. And if the kid sits out (of training camp), he sits out."
“I wonder if the agent is going to pay him his money back that he’s going to lose by sitting out?”
According to the Dispatch, Overhardt is seeking nearly $6.5 million per season for Johansen, while Columbus has offered between $3 million and $3.5 million per season.
On Tuesday, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen warned the 22-year-old about missing the start of training camp, which begins on Thursday, because of the ongoing impasse in their negotiations.
"When training camp starts, that’s it," Kekalainen said. "After that, it’s guys who are there on tryouts or guys who are under contract. That’s it. That will be the only focus."
Johansen scored 33 goals and 63 points last season for the Blue Jackets, who reached the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.
- Molly Geary